Dogtor Andy - Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry?

Dogtor Andy - Why is My Dog’s Nose Dry?

Why is my dog’s nose dry? Probably my favourite of the old wife’s tales we come across as vets is that a dry nose equals a sick dog. Perhaps not entirely true, there’s lots of reasons a dog might have a dry nose but one thing is for sure, there’s nothing sexy about it. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons your dog’s nose may be dry.


We talk about skin allergies a lot here and one of the symptoms can be a dry, itchy nose as they form part of the skin. If allergies are the cause for a dry nose, you can probably expect other symptoms such as itching and abnormal looking skin elsewhere.


This one makes sense if you think about it. The nose is the part of the dog’s skin that we can see and touch easily without any fur in the way. In that case it’s not surprising that we notice the nose becoming dry if your dog doesn’t get enough water in their diet or after exercise.

Diseases of the nose

There are a bunch of uncommon diseases that affect the nose specifically in dogs. Think nasty diseases such as skin cancer, auto-immune conditions such as lupus and vitiligo (Michael Jackson’s condition) or Zinc disorders. I won’t go into detail here but if you see changes in the colour or texture of your dog’s nose then have it checked at your family vet.


Still under the banner of diseases of the nose, this one is more common. Sunburn in dogs is more common than we think, particularly in dogs with pale pigment. As the nose lacks hair to protect it from the sun, symptoms of dry, crusty skin from sunburn may arise here first. Avoid letting it get to that point and make a habit of applying a pet safe sunscreen prior to going out to play.


Ever noticed your dog licking its nose? It’s not because he likes the taste of his own boogers (well, he probably does tbh) but it’s because he’s keeping his nose moisturised and clean so that it can keep doing its job effectively. So, if your dog’s nose is dry when he first wakes up, perhaps give him some time to stretch and have a good lick before you bundle him off to the vet in his PJ’s.

Getting old?

Likewise, older dogs sleep more and start to forget to groom themselves so you can expect older dogs’ noses to become a little dry.

Perhaps he can’t lick his nose!

I can lick my own nose but I know some humans who can’t. Same goes for dogs. Brachycephalic dogs, or those with squishy faces such as Bulldogs and Pugs can have a hard time licking their nose at all. If you’ve got one of these special guys or girls I’d encourage you to take a good look. Actually, I think everyone should check their dogs’ nose – go on, they’re probably under your feet while you read this so you may as well check it now.

Does it feel dry and scratchy? We get used to how our dogs look and feel but don’t you think that it must feel horrible to have such a dry nose? If your dog falls into these last few categories, Dr Zoo makes a delicious smelling shea butter moisturiser made specifically for the problem. If you are using something safe and natural like this Nose & Paw Balm then you can apply it every day to provide relief for a crusty nose.

Obviously, we’ve discussed some potentially nasty causes here for a dry nose as well as the less worrying ones. If you’ve noticed something change in the appearance of your dog’s nose or if you are just not sure, it never hurts to have a check-up with your vet. No-one “nose” your dog’s health better than they do. 

Xo Dogtor Andy

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